mindset

Follow the Urge

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As I’m writing this I am sitting by a stream in a camping area about an hour from my rural Montana home. No phone service. No internet. No sounds but the wind through the trees, a few birds chatting back and forth, and the stream rushing by.

I have come to crave this solitude; this feeling of nowhere to be and nothing to do. This feeling of total detachment from the buzz and hmmm of the electric world. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.

If you know me at all, you know I’m a “go-getter.” I’m ambitious and direct. I know what I want. Clarity has never been something I struggled to find. I’m a black and white thinker. I know what’s right and wrong. Most of my adult life so far as revolved around traveling the world or working to travel or working while traveling. 

Yet.. all of the sudden I feel the need to STOP. Be still. Just be. To be completely honest, it’s foreign. Sure, I love meditation. I truly believe that if all people took more time to contemplate and watch our thoughts, the world would be a much happier and healthier place. 

But this desire for stillness, is more than just a routine morning quiet time. It’s like a part of me that was always there, but in the shadows has come out into the light and is all the sudden driving and all the other parts of me are getting motion sickness. The constant movement to stillness. The raw ambition to the relative apathy. The pure clarity to the grey area. This new driving force of stillness is making me feel like I don’t quite know myself.

None of this is bad. It’s a form of growth. I can tell, a deeper awakening to myself and my power is imminent. My body and higher self are calling on me to SLOW DOWN. 

Listen. 

Take rest. 

“You’ll need your energy for what’s to come.”

A time of potential building and ripening. 

So all this is to say.. if you feel the urge to slow down too, follow it. If you feel a little “stuck” “lost” or “uninspired”, there isn’t anything wrong with it. It’s part of our cyclical nature. We will always come back to the action. We will always come back to the desire to do. We contract and we expand. We have periods in our lives (sometimes very long periods) of creation and manifesting and periods of recuperating and stillness. 

We all live and we all die. 

The circle or the wave of life.

The struggle against this inevitable waning of life is what makes this aspect of life miserable.

When you go into a period of stillness, and instead of letting it offer you its insight, you fight and rally against it, you deny it and try to keep pushing, is when you elongate that period or make it more painful than it has to be. 

When you build the story of “failure” or “lazy” around a simple need for stillness, you rob yourself of the lessons it’s trying to teach you and elongate the whole process. 

 

If I have learned anything from my relatively short, but very full life it’s that the more we’re able to listen to our internal urges, those little nagging feelings, the “pings” of intuition, the more we’re following the path of least resistance. The path that will easily and fully lead us to where we need to go, what we need to learn, and who we need to be.

Sometimes those nagging feelings aren’t easy to follow. I can tell you firsthand, that my ego DOES NOT WANT to slow down. It wants to go. It wants to accomplish. It wants to MAKE IT HAPPEN. It wants to check the things off the list. It wants to get recognition and praise. So for me to follow this urge to come out to this place in nature with all distractions and connections severed, took a lot of higher-self-worth and trust. It’s a muscle you build over time and with practice. 

You start listening to the little nudges first. You take a different road on your drive home from work because you get the urge. You call that friend that keeps popping into your mind. You sit at the base of the tree in the park because it keeps grabbing your attention.

Then the smaller things turn into bigger things. You get the clear urge to go to Italy, so you plan a trip there. You get the clear urge to talk to your partner about that thing you’ve been hiding from him or her.

This is the way to start to tap into this path of living our lives in the path of the least resistance.  A flip to following “my will” to “the higher will.” The greater good. The higher purpose. Getting our directions from the thing that makes our hearts beat and tells the flowers when to open. The great mystery. 

Mystery doesn’t give you a play by play. A step by step process. It gives you an urge. It gives you a ping. It gives you a nagging feeling.

Go ahead, play the mystery game.

I’m with you. 

 

 

 

What to do with Worry

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I heard a quote from Abraham Hicks the other day: “Worry is just putting yourself in the future without the resources you have right now.” 

As the ever-loving Universe would have it we’re always being offered lessons. The exact right information comes at the exact right moment when we’re ready to receive it. Hearing this statement was one of those synchronistic moments for me.  

I am a very anxious person by nature. My brain is on hyper alert all the time. I’m the type of person that wants to solve everything and everything done right now. Someone doesn’t text me back immediately? They’re probably dead. You don’t answer the phone? You’re dead in my mind. My husband leaves the house in a car. He’s probably going to die. 

I know how ridiculous this sounds (although I’m willing to bet a lot more people than you would think can relate to these thoughts pretty well). Luckily, with my spiritual practice and the effort I’ve put into the development of my higher self, these anxious, crazy thoughts don’t really get a hold on me at all anymore. I can watch them and let them go. 

But my anxiety does create more struggle in my life sometimes. I get very anxious about returning emails. I get anxious about not “taking advantage” of my time. I get anxious about if I’m being productive enough. I get anxious about planning things and making sure plans are carried out.The list goes on. So when I heard this quote about worrying being putting yourself in the future where you don’t have the resources you have right now it clicked. 

When we worry or get anxious about things that might or might not happen we aren’t giving ourselves any good options. We’re literally putting ourselves out in total pure potential land (the future) with no grounding presence of now. We don’t have our breath. We don’t have our feet on the ground. We don’t have our five senses. We don’t know what we’ll feel like, or how much sleep we might have get. 

So what do we do with worry? What do we do when our powerful little monkey minds just spin out on some awful scenario or tangent? 

We come back to now. We take a deep breath. We feel our feet on the ground. We engage our senses. 

We ask ourselves, “Is there something I can do about this situation right now?” 

Now, if you were worrying about whether or not you left the coffee maker on, you could technically do something about that. You could go back home and check the coffee maker. You could text your partner at home and ask them to check it. So if there does happen to be something you can do about worry subject. Go ahead and DO IT. 

However, if there is nothing you can do about the situation you are worrying about right now, then this is when you can start to engage presence and take your power back. You shift your focus. Focus on your sternum, or your heart, or somewhere in your physical body. Close your eyes and breathe into that place. Notice how the air feels on your skin. Taste. Smell. Be present. 

And just like that we’ve let go of worry and reclaimed our power, right now, in the present where we belong. 

This may seem very simple, and it is. But that doesn’t mean it should be discounted. The answer is more often than not..simple. It does take practice and discipline to focus our minds, so although this can work really well in the moment, it’s also something that can be more effective if you calm and focus your mind on a regular basis through a meditation or mindfulness practice of some sort. 

Peace be with you, my friends. 

What Are You Practicing?

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Have you seen that viral video going around with the little kid asking, “what do you practice?”?
Omg. It is so. Good.

So good that I set a couple reminders on my phone to pop up periodically throughout the asking the question, “what are you practicing?”

The idea is this.. what we practice we get very good at. When we practice worry, we’ll be great worriers. When we practice being suspicious of events, people, places, things, we’ll be very good at being suspicious. Etc, etc.


So the lesson I’m getting from this is: to stop throughout the day, check in with myself, & realize consciously what I am practicing at that moment.

Am I practicing being frantic? 
Am I practicing seeing the bad? 
Am I practicing judgment? 
Am I practicing being in fear?

What if I was willing to practice allowance? 
Peace? 
Compassion? 
Being in love?

Not just when I’m in meditation, but always throughout the day.. noticing what I am practicing.

This morning I was trying to “get through” all the emails I’ve been putting off all week. The energy was really “I hate this,” “hurry up” and generally just tight and frantic.

Then the reminder; “what are you practicing?” popped up on my phone, and I realized it. I get the tightness. I felt the resistance. I was literally ‘practicing’ tightness, judgment, & resistance. Whoa!

And because of this little reminder, I was able to ask myself, “how can I practice joy right now?” “How can I practice how I would like to feel, right now?” So that I get really good at it.

I felt my shoulders drop. 
I felt my lips curve up. 
I heard a mantra of mine reverberate in my head, “I am peaceful.” 
And just that like that a miracle happened. 
I was practicing what I want to practice.

So this post is asking you, right now, what are you practicing? And would you rather be practicing something different?

Here’s your chance to shift it. 
I’m with you.

 

 

Letting Go of the Past and the Future to Enjoy the Present

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"Start anew, again & again. Every moment of our lives we can start anew." - Pema

You don’t have to believe the story of yesterday.

The stories of our past have a certain momentum that can be challenging to bring to a halt. 

But... 

All it takes is awareness. 

A simple momentary choice to see right now differently. 

To know that every moment is chance to start again. 

Let’s choose a new story, one that we’re excited about & in love with, right now in the present moment. 

My work this week (or let’s be honest; the work of my life) has been in the vein of learning how to not know where the path leads exactly, but walk down it anyway. And to not make assumptions about that path because of past experiences. 

To not be super consumed in the place I’m going before I get there. Or the place I was just standing.

To stay open along the way and keep moving forward. 

To meet the people and experiences that cross my path with love and curiosity; not view them as obstacles in the way of where I’m going or plaster them with expectations. 

The way I’ve learned to ‘be’ in the world is to be kind of like a bulldozer. 

I see where I’m going and I just charge ahead. 

Single minded. 

I won't say it hasn't worked for me in some respects.  

I bless the lessons, gifts, and massive amount of drive it has given me. 

But I’m ready for a softer existence. 

I’m craving more flow. 

A way of being that is more like a river. 

No hurry. 

No rush. 

No urgency. 

Swift in parts. 

Slow and heavy in others. 

I always know where I’m going. 

I’ll get there as sure as the river leads to the ocean. 

Releasing control and trusting the process so that I can enjoy what happens along the way. 

Sometimes we need more drive. 

Sometimes we need more flow. 

Sometimes we need to remember that we are here to enjoy life. To thank the every day, ordinary moments. 

Right now I’m choosing the beauty of letting go, and allowing each moment to start afresh. 

What about you?

What I Know for Sure

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1. I am Supported

I know that we live in a benevolent universe. I know that every single thing that happens to you, to me, to everyone is part of something that is supporting us through a journey of learning to love more deeply, more comprehensively, and more totally. 

I know shitty things happen. I know painful things happen. I know experiences and people can be unfair, overwhelming, and seemingly hopeless. But I also know that when we feel the burn of hurt, it’s the exact opportunity to give in, to crack open, to say, “I don’t know the answers,” and let ourselves be guided by this Universal support. It’s simple, but not always easy. 

2. Self-Love is the Always the Answer

Out of every single person in the world, I am the only one who knows what it feels like to be me.  I am the only person who hears how I hear, who sees how I see, who loves the way I love, who experiences sadness in my way, who understands joy the way I’m meant to. I am, was and will be, with myself. It’s the one thing I can always guarantee. If I don’t love me, I’m in a very difficult situation. 

When we put our happiness, worthiness, or valuation in someone or something else, we are saying something else matters more than our own sovereignty. When we say to ourselves consciously or unconsciously, “For me to be happy, I need him to love me,” or “I’ll really be myself when I lose these last 10 pounds,” we are literally saying someone or something else has control over how much we are worth, how much we deserve, and how much we have. 

It doesn’t matter how much love you get from other people. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like or how many pretty, awesome, expensive things you have. If you don’t love yourself, it’s all just a guise, a false front. Self-love, loving ourselves honestly and fully, is the key to having a fulfilling life. It’s the key to everything I care about and want to care about. 

3. I am Responsible for EVERYTHING that Happens to Me

(See last week’s blog post about the differences between responsibility, fault, and blame for more clarification.)

This is the most empowering statement I can think of. Living in this space is the space where miracles happen. It is where we take control of our lives, our fates, and our happiness. 

People always rally against this idea though.They want to say, “but what about when my husband cheated on me?” or “what about when my dad died in a car wreck?” Yes, these awful things happen, and they hurt and they are not your fault. But you do get to decide what you do with it. You do get to decide how you react. You do get to decide how you see what’s left after the bomb drops. 

4. Where There is Fear There is Power (or Real Vulnerability Makes Us Invulnerable)

This will be it’s own blog post someday I’m sure. But I know that true power lies in being exactly who you are. Being exactly who you are means no hiding, no pretending, and no covering up. The paradox is that only when we become completely vulnerable, do we become invulnerable because there is nothing else to figure out. Every place we feel fear it’s because there is a part of ourselves we haven’t totally integrated. As we become a fully integrated, self-realized human being, we realize we held the power all along. 

 

We are bigger, braver and kinder than we could ever imagine. Remember that. 

 

Only Love, 

 

Clara 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacred Rituals

What is a sacred ritual?

These two words might conjure up images of naked women dancing around a bomb fire, or pagan sacrifices, or maybe even a taking communion at a church. Or, like me, you could have flashbacks of Buffy the Vampire Slayer reading out of some ancient book and casting spells. It could also illicit an eye-roll or two. I'm OK with that. I get it. 

If you would, please, suspend these preconceived notions about what a sacred ritual looks like or is for the duration of the time it takes to read this.

What if sacred rituals were just little actions we partook in that reminded us that there are circumstances in this world that are mysterious and out-of-of-our-control-in-a-good-way? 

We typically want everything in our life to have some semblance of control. We like comfort, consistency, and safety. This makes sense! We should want to have shelter, food, and the guarantee that our life isn't in danger. 

However, when we cling to this idea of needing-to-know too desperately, we are completely thrown off when things (inevitably) show us that we don't always have control. 

Typically, when we do realize we're not in control our mind immediately goes to the worst possible scenario.  As Gabby Bernstein explains in her book "The Universe Has Your Back" we live our lives like we're the girl in the horror movie just about to have something awful jump out in front of her. We're throwing popcorn at the screen and saying "DON'T DO IT!! YOU'RE GONNA GET HURT!!!".

The funny thing is, unlike the predictable horror movie, there normally isn't a bad guy around the corner. We're typically totally OK, and even when we're not, we typically figure it out. But we put a lot of unnecessary stress on ourselves by constantly being in the scene. 

What if the unknown or the mysterious didn't send us into a horror movie but gave us a sense of awe and wonder? 

What if instead of using our imaginations to create awful scenarios, we create beautiful ones?

Is it really that much crazier to think that taking the time to give a little offering of prayer and love to the universe could positively affect the outcome of a difficult situation, than (one of my recurring horror scenes) to feel like you're DEFINITELY going to die while you're driving in a snowstorm? We always seem to believe in the bad projections of the future and scoff at the possibility that there could be wondrous outcomes. 

Here in Bali, each day people put these little offerings (called on their doorsteps and around their home and light incense. They take the time and put the effort into creating these beautiful little offerings. These offerings are a repeated act of faith by Balinese Hindus and can be infused with intentions, prayers, or just simply put out to ask for good fortune. 

Balianese offering

Can you imagine if every person spent the time and effort of putting together a beautiful little offering and lit some incense every morning?

And so I've been thinking about this question. About the role of sacred rituals and how I might be able to create them in my life in the modern world. My feeling is that if we made time for something that felt like a sacred ritual in our lives we would feel more connected to the magic in our souls and ultimately more joyful. We would direct more of our abundant imaginative energy towards the positive instead of reliving our horror movie scene over and over. 

These sacred rituals are less about what we do, but more about how we do it. Whatever you do, do it with reverence and appreciation of something larger than just our daily routine, you can literally infuse anything with sacredness if you see it from a larger point of view. 

We are multi-dimensional beings and acknowledging our sacredness could connect us more to the aspects of ourselves that get pushed aside in our daily grind, and turn us on to the positive possibilities that come from releasing control with love instead of fear. 

So light some incense tonight. Say some prayers. Have a hot bath and honor your sacred body.

Do something that feels like it has magic in it and let me know how you feel after.... ✨💫

If you're interested in partaking in a sacred ritual but have no idea where to start I have recorded one of mine. Watch it here. Use this ritual for planting new 'seeds' in your life. A perfect time to practice this is on the night of the new moon, but it can be practiced at any time you feel you need to get back to neutral and imagine new and postive outcomes. 

 

The Gift of Self-Sabotage

The Gift of Self-Sabotage

We all do it and fret about it: Self-Sabotage. But what if there is a gift underneath all the late night eating and not working out? What if there is something to learned from it all that will bring us closer to ourselves and therefore actually propel us towards our real goals? 

A Simple Practice to Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

We all have self-limiting beliefs. They're the beliefs we hold that keep us from trying new things, keep us from fully trusting in our selves, and creating the life that we desire. They're the beliefs that tell us we're not 'good' enough, not smart enough, or not 'attractive' enough. These are beliefs that may have served us in the past and are a part of how we developed as a person. There's nothing wrong with them. However, when we know we're destined for bigger and better things sometimes we have to face these beliefs so we can leave them behind.

Here is a simple practice I've used many, many times on my own self-limiting beliefs and have embraced as a part of my daily practice. 

Step 1: Write down all limiting beliefs fears you have about life/dietary changes/the future/your health/your relationship, anything. This may be A LOT, that’s OK.

Step 2: Do the following

o   Sit with your eyes closed in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths in and out and reassure yourself you are safe.

o   Imagine a bright beam of light at the base of your spine traveling through the top of your head into the Universe.

o   Say out loud, “I can now release limiting beliefs instantly. I am now one with my higher self.”

o   Next, see a bright pink beaming light coming from your heart center

o   Think about your limiting belief (just one).

o   Say out loud: “Even though I have this (limiting belief) I completely and deeply love and accept myself on all known and unknown levels.”

o   Imagine the pink light from your heart healing and dissolving all parts of your body and mind where this limiting belief is being held and let forgiveness and acceptance heal and transform that belief.

o   Say out loud, “I now allow myself to receive a higher perspective to replace the belief I just released.”

o   Journal about what comes up.

o   Repeat this process for one limiting belief each day. If there is a super strong rooted limiting belief maybe repeat this process with it for a few days or do this exercise more than once in the day.

o   Consistency is key. It’s not a one-time solution, it’s something you should do consistently as a practice. 

Move toward your true purpose, without fear or indecision.. You deserve to feel full, joyful, and at ease. 

Deprivation vs Opportunity: A Mindset Shift

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When we think about changing our diet we normally think about deprivation, or all the things that we CAN’T have. However, with a simple perspective shift from deprivation thinking to thinking about the opportunity we will have to try new things, to cook in new ways, and to ignite our interest in food and flavor again we can shift how we think about the experience of changing our diet.

You are not depriving yourself. You are giving yourself the opportunity to cut out old habits and unhealthy foods so that you can flourish. You are opening a door to a new world where your body works with you and you work with your body. Taking advantage of opportunity always takes a little bit of struggle and that is where the difficulty comes in, not from deprivation, but from growth. 

How can you begin to shift your perspective around making healthier choices to one of opportunity instead of deprivation?